Our Future, Our Teachers: The Obama Administration’s Plan for Teacher Education Reform and Improvement

Our Future, Our Teachers: The Obama Administration’s Plan for Teacher Education Reform and Improvement

In the next 10 years, 1.6 million new teachers will be needed to take the place of teachers who will retire. Many of these educators will pass through traditional teacher preparation programs. While there are many good teacher education programs in this country, far too many of the programs that prepare our teachers are inadequate. Improving these programs is essential to ensuring our nation's students receive the education they deserve.

Read the Obama Administration's plan for improving teacher recruitment and preparation. [PDF, 2.16MB] | [PDF, accessible version, 300KB]


Support for Reform

"We need to take the lead in recruiting and training teacher candidates. Let's start by giving them the best preparation anyone could imagine on the front end, before they ever set foot in a classroom. Students need and deserve our best efforts and our best educators. The Administration's proposal Our Future, Our Teachers provides a strong roadmap for promoting and highlighting excellence in teacher preparation programs and providing long overdue support for teacher preparation programs at minority-serving institutions."

Dennis Van Roekel
National Education Association

"Research has shown that teachers are the most important school-based factor in determining student achievement. Comprehensive teacher effectiveness reform must include bringing accountability to teacher preparation. Ultimately, colleges of education should be reviewed the same way we propose evaluating teachers - based primarily on student learning. We applaud the Administration for taking an important step in advancing these reforms, collecting better outcome data, and supporting state reforms."

Chiefs for Change

"Teacher preparation must, in the words of a recent NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel report, be 'turned upside down.' We have to raise the bar for teacher preparation so that excellent programs and practices are the norm across our nation. We applaud the efforts of the Obama Administration in its strategic plan Our Future, Our Teachers to develop a comprehensive agenda that will promote effective teaching at every stage of the career pipeline. We are eager to work together with the Department and with all stakeholders to build a new system of teaching effectiveness that serves all our nation's learners."

James G. Cibulka
President, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
President, Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

"Our Future, Our Teachers makes clear that the ability to teach is something to learn, and therefore to be taught. This report puts the focus where it should be: beginning teachers' readiness to practice independently. Setting performance requirements for responsible teaching is one of the most important improvements that the U.S. could make to ensure learning by all students. Clear standards for what teachers should be able to do when they enter the classroom would shift the focus away from arguments over who should prepare teachers and how to select program entrants and toward beginning teachers' actual instructional skills. The Administration's teacher education plan takes an important stand -- it's the outcomes of teacher preparation that matter most."

Deborah Loewenberg Ball
Dean, School of Education
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

"Identifying and learning from top-performing teacher-preparation programs is an important strategy to further the teaching profession in our country. It is critically important to analyze regularly the effectiveness of our teacher-preparation pathways, and that analysis should include an objective and rigorous examination of the average learning gains of students. States that annually conduct such analyses, such as Louisiana and Tennessee, are providing valuable feedback to teacher-preparation programs, including Teach For America, and helping to inform school and district hiring decisions."

Wendy Kopp
CEO and Founder
Teach for America

"The quality of the nation's new teacher pipeline has a tremendous impact on the overall quality of education that our students receive. The U.S. Department of Education's insistence that states truly hold teacher preparation programs accountable will make it harder for weak programs to escape scrutiny. By investing in selective programs that take care to recruit minority teacher candidates and train them in effective methods of instruction, particularly in reading, the Department will establish a strong model for other programs to emulate. And by awarding fellowships to high achievers, the country will recruit the talent into the classroom our students deserve. The Administration's plan will get us closer to the day when schools of education come to be seen as invaluable to the teaching profession as medical schools are to doctors."

Kate Walsh
National Council on Teacher Quality

Understanding the influence of teaching training programs on student learning is an important first step toward creating a system which supports ambitious teaching and learning for our nation's youth. The U.S. Department of Education is right to demand states use multiple measures to assess teacher training program quality, and I welcome the administration's support of emerging tools like new teacher performance assessments that can be used to support deep program improvement in teacher education."

Tom Stritikus
Dean, College of Education
University of Washington

Our Future, Our Teachers provides a valuable roadmap for the future of teacher education as we seek to improve the ways our teachers are recruited, selected and prepared for their critical positions.

David Ritchey
Executive Director
Association of Teacher Educators

The Council of the Great City Schools enthusiastically supports the Obama Administration's initiative on teacher preparation and looks forward to working with the education community to realize the promise of this program.

Michael Casserly
Executive Director
Council of Great City Schools

"Teacher preparation has been "shaken-up" in Louisiana. We've lived through the difficult 'redesign' years and we're continuing to work out the kinks of the value-added data system. The proposed initiatives will provide impetus to seek improvement in new areas of need in teacher preparation. . . . Bottom line: I support the Obama Administration's initiative."

Vickie S. Gentry, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Education & Human Development
Northwestern State University
Natchitoches, Louisiana